Anthroposophy and Theosophy are very different. Neophytes to
Anthroposophy can become confused, however, because the Anthroposophical
Society and Movement have lost a true connection to what Steiner taught
- on multiple levels. As a consequence, there are not a lot of good
examples of what it means to be an "anthroposophist".
Much of the confusion within the Society and Movement comes from
failing to distinguish the method from the content. Anthroposophy is
not the content of the Steiner's lecture cycles, as if it was a set of
beliefs or understandings. Anthroposophy is "a path of cognition from
the spirit in man to the Spirit in the Universe".
What this last means is that with the arrival of the present stage of
the evolution of consciousness (what Steiner called the Epoch of the
Consciousness Soul), a certain potential arose in the soul for a new
kind of clairvoyance, using "thinking" as the means. This requires deep
introspection and much else. Here is something I wrote recently on
another list as regards the new clairvoyance latent in thinking:
"As you know "mind", or the human inwardness, is a difficult matter to
discuss, yet from Steiner we are advised to come to knowledge of "mind",
especially thinking, before any other activity. His view is that
without understanding the act of thinking, we will remain stuck (in our
thinking) in its most rudimentary forms.
"For example: Thinking always has within it, at its deepest
levels, the quality: perception. In ordinary mind we sleep through this
perceptual element, and live only in the after effect - the flow of
words (or concepts). Thinking is always perceiving, but our i-AM often
only is awake to the secondary effect, which is the stream of words (our
spirit speaks, our soul hears). To the perceiving aspect we are most
"Thinking in words then can become a kind of interesting play,
although the concepts being played with are dead, when compared with the
unconscious perceptual element which is living. So when you write a
term such as "infinitely infinite" I detect, not perception but a play
with words. You seem here to be "idealizing" the Divine Mystery, by
attributing to it the most grandiose concepts you can find. God must be
Great, is the logic, and so if I (you) use concepts which suggest that
which is beyond any limits, then I (you) am finding true concepts which
can be applied to God.
"Lots of people do this, and there is no shame in it. I would
guess that there is a sense of wonder and awe behind this. The
unconscious perception you have when you try to think God, leads to this
oh so awesome qualitative sense of His Being and Mystery, and only such
terms as point in that direction can justly be applied.
"Something similar exists (it appears to me) in the discussions
concerning the Divine Feminine and the two Trinities. God is being
"idealized", but the different posters to that thread, live in different
assumptions (and experiences), with the consequence that they can not
but seem to disagree, given these different assumptions and experiences.
"For Steiner, he wished for us to find a way beyond being only
awake in the play of concepts (play of words and terms), which is the
natural gift of ordinary mind. He had discovered that thinking could go
further, were we to learn more about thinking through the application of
a scientifically based (as in method) practice of introspection. He
wanted us to look within at thinking itself, and through this process of
self discovery (know thyself) there involved, we would slowly unfold the
hidden potential of thinking.
"The essence of this work is the application of will. We are
ultimately training the will through this practice of introspection. In
this sense the will can be divided into two kinds of preliminary acts:
intention and attention.
"The "intention" works best when it is rooted in a moral impulse
(thus Steiner's comments in Knowledge of Higher Worlds about taking
three steps in moral development for every one step in the development
of higher knowledge).
"Second to a moral intention, we have to train our ability to
focus the inner attention. Normally this aspect of mind (the attention)
wanders all over the place, which is why all the various exercises -
they all share in common this training of the attention.
"One of the most important moral acts is sacrifice of thoughts.
If we already believe we know, there is no progress, because that lack
of humility toward the inwardness casts a shadow. Nothing new can be
brought to us by the participation of the Spirit (which seeks to come
toward us when we learn properly to "think"), when we already know. In
the Sermon on the Mount, Christ spoke of this, in this way: "Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven" [or, "The poor
in spirit are in luck: the kingdom of the skies is theirs" - see the
"Only when my consciousness is empty of content (sacrifice of
thoughts), and I am humble in my thinking ("learn to think on your
knees" - V. Tomberg), can "it think in me" (Steiner) - that is can the
Spirit co-participate in the act of thinking and bring me that which I
yet do not know.
"So we have intention (moral) and attention (open and focused -
that is: expectant), which then will ride the true essential part that
is the cultivation of feeling. It is the willed qualitative nature and
intensity of feeling that is the essential matter. This is why Steiner
has us (again in Knowledge of Higher Worlds) spend so much time on
exercises of the subtle inner feelings.
"In a sense, we place the center of our "self" in the middle of
our feelings, as if in a bath of subtle living movement. We "cultivate"
(will) a certain mood of soul, and this mood makes possible
"intercourse" with the Spirit.
"Through these activities we are deepening our sense of what
truly lives in potential in thinking. We move from the superficial play
of words into that which has been always latent there - perception. But
the "perception" is only analogous to sense experience. We haven't yet
the language, so we borrow from sense experience.
"Thus, Imagination (Steiner's first level of clairvoyance) is
picture like - this is it is analogous to seeing, only it is an inner
seeing - our questing feeling attention has discovered knowledge in the
sense of seeing a picture. Inspiration (Steiner's second level of
clairvoyance) is analogous to hearing (we have a "conversation" with the
Invisible world), so the Beings "tell" us answers to our heartfelt
questions. With Intuition (Steiner's third and deepest level of
clairvoyance), we "join" (inter-penetrate) the Being, so that our
essence and their Essence meet. Knowledge then is neither "seen" or
"heard", but we are changed - we become the knowledge - it (the
knowledge) is now part of our will.
"In this way (method - path - anthroposophy), we come to "know"
the Divine Mystery.
"So we know as we are known, as St Paul has explained in 1
Corinthians 12-13: "We see now through a mirror in an obscure manner
(ordinary mind), but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I
shall know even as I have been known (Intuition)"."
I hope Jarett, this is not too much, but these are serious matters and
I did want to at least point you in the right direction.
Outlaw Anthroposophy: http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/otlwa.html
On Mon, 2004-12-13 at 22:08, jarett richardson wrote:
> is anthroposophy considered a form of esotericism?
> what-if any-beliefs do theosophy and anthroposophy
> hold in common?
> can a person be a theosophist and an anthroposophist
> at the same time?